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One Laptop per Child (OLPC)

In 2005, Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder and director of MIT's Media Lab started the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) target="blank" foundation. The vision is to give every child on the planet a laptop.

The program has received a lot of press recently.

Lesley Stahl’s 60 Minutes piece, “What If Every Child Had a Laptop” conveys Negroponte's inspired dream.

Virginia Heffernan in her article "Children’s Crusade" in the New York Times Magazine writes,

"The XO was designed, with much fanfare, for One Laptop Per Child, the marvelously hubristic organization created by the M.I.T. new-media guru Nicholas Negroponte to equip two billion children in poor countries with a means to educational salvation. In October, Negroponte presented the laptop at the Vatican to an audience of Roman Catholic schoolteachers and nuns. He stressed that his laptop would not run programs like Word, PowerPoint or Excel. When third-world kids use mainstream office software, he said, “that breaks my heart most.” Instead, he went on, “the children should be making things, they should be sharing things, they should be creating music, creating pictures, making videos, playing with mathematics, accessing the Internet.”

Much of the recent press covers the difficulties this project has endured.

Laptop Program to Intel: Good Riddance is a good article covering some of the hardships the project is facing and contains an interview with Walter Bender, the software president of OLPC.

Big Delays for Small Laptops: OLPC Recipients Irate is another article on the troubles.

Mathematician and computer scientist Seymour Papert (a former Media Lab person) provides the vision of "constructionism" which is the learning theory at the heart of the OLPC program. A synopsis of his theeory can be found in this review of his work. Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas

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